As a rule I avoid listicles. They are fun but your way is not my way. Despite my aversion, I kept coming up against literature about how women have been washing their faces wrong, clean enough, with the right water temperature and bad combination of hand and finger rotation, never mind soap that ought to be the aristocrat of cleansers.
It so happened there are as many ways to cleanse as there are believers. One is gaining traction but is not exactly new.
If you are a mother chances are you are familiar with muslin cloth. For those who are not, these are thin, 100 per cent cotton squares made out of light fibres. They have multiple uses, as do most beauty hacks these days, across the kitchen and bathroom. That is the first part.
The second part is the rise of double cleansing. This is inspired by Korean beauty culture. It turns out rubbing your face with foamy cleanser, splashing water then moisturising it. Double cleansing is exactly what it sounds like. Washing your face twice.
First you massage with cleansing oil. All kinds of oils from special cleansing unguents to extra virgin olive and coconut oil, sweet almond to jojoba oil have been named as cleansers.
This massage is extensive, cutting across the entire face and including the eyes because nothing removes stubborn eye makeup like oil.
This is followed with a lighter, gentler cleanser. Or, you could use micellar water an equally growing trend, to swipe the face clean.
Another take on double cleansing involves buying a stack of muslin cloth or bamboo if that is your thing.
Wet the muslin cloth with warm to hot water, then, after massaging the oil brown oil drips into the sink, the muslin warmish cloth is placed on top to absorb oil and dirt.
Then, with clean hands and semi cleaned skin, once again massage the face with a mild cleanser.
Get another clean, fresh warmish muslin square, wrung out, and begin to lightly massage a clean part over each eye, and swipe a clean part of the cloth on separate parts of your face from forehead to neck. A glance at the muslin cloth will show you how dirty your skin still was.
Muslin is getting all kinds of praise as an defoliant while showing proof the traditional way of cleansing does not work. And in case you were still debating it, yes, you need toner.
Muslin can be used to steam the face by dipping it into the hottest water you can stand, wring it out and place it on your face up to 15 times. You could do the opposite in the morning with ice cold water to refresh your face.
You could also, instead of using oil, use a strong cleanser and wipe off with muslin and then repeat as above with a gentler cleanser.
Muslin face cloths exist in various beauty brands across the world. If you go to a high end chemist, preferably in a local shopping mall, you are likely to find them sold in pairs. They are white, because how else can dirt be good?
Over time their fibres soften, which is a good thing. Wash after use and be sure to hang where it will dry. If you have sensitive skin whether by nature or because it is acne-prone, use a muslin cloth only two to three times a week.
While it might be tempting, resist the impulse to scrub hard. Be gentle. And use your muslin face cloth generally at night. This is when skin needs to be prepped for a healing night ritual. It is on this very clean skin that serums, gels, moisturisers and all kinds of treatment are applied.
Here is the beauty of the muslin cloth. As a night-time regimen it simplifies morning skincare routines reducing it to moisturising, sunscreen and whatever it is you are treating your skin for. Some women only cleanse morning skin with water after such an extensive night ritual.
Adding muslin face cloths to your routine means sunscreen is non negotiable. Certain products come with muslin face cloths. But they work pretty much with any cleanser.
Versions include face mitts, face flannels or the traditional face towel. Buffed skin absorbs products better. It could be the massaging of a cleanser into skin or exfoliation, or the combination that ultimately gives you a glow. Over time you may even need less makeup.